Monday, 13 February 2012

Blogland stroll

When I take the occasional stroll around blogland, looking for sites with something new or different to say, I often stumble across one of the seriously popular ones. No surprise there, in view of the way the internet works.

Anyhow, many of these popular sites have posts which regularly attract comments well into double figures and sometimes hundreds. When I read through the comments though, the quality of the original post is not always maintained. Why is that?

It’s not that the comments are of poor quality, although some are, but it’s more a problem with people missing the point or wandering away from it. I write a very minor blog and get good relevant comments, but many big blogs attract some strange stuff indeed.

It seems to me that blog posts have to be taken as a moment in time, a current standpoints on an issue, range of issues, event or whatever. After all, a blog post is closer to a first draft than a first edition. It is always possible, and I do mean always, to add something worthwhile or advocate some other standpoint and many comments do exactly that - of course they do.

Fine – no problem.

But then the original blog writer or another commenter feels they have to jump in with both feet to refute something they don't like. Then another commenter jumps in – then another. And so on and so on. So we get comments about comments about comments which quickly become quite heated – but why?

Why indeed. To my mind blog posts and comments should be seen as exploratory – nothing more. Offerings if you like but not to be taken too far. That can come later – in another post and with luck we’ll get somewhere.

Even so, I enjoy the blogging game, particularly the comments and disagreements. It all tells you something if you stand back and allow it to without feeling that corrosive need to take your own views too seriously.


rogerh said...

More is less perhaps. I am struck by how seldom the comments develop into reasoned discussion, more often a single shot in the dark or something of the Ya-Boo kind.

Some blogs are good as a jumping off point to new and curious realms. Perhaps there is a 'Random Blog' button somewhere.

The life cycle of the blog looks to be a future PhD topic at some loopy uni and if one were to sketch a map of the blogosphere the lacunai would tell us a great deal.

To pinch half a quote -
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Sam Vega said...

I suppose it depends on the type of blog. Technical or more overtly ideological ones tend to challenge people to "put the record straight". Sometimes the personality of the blogger (always assumed and constructed, of course) presses our buttons for good or for worse. I am frequently struck by how I "become different people" when reading and responding to different blogs. Most of us do this naturally in social encounters, but the speed at which I change attitude and opinion at the click of a mouse often provokes wry thoughts on the fragility of what I normally take to be "me".

I like this one because it is so varied and the style is honest brilliantly unassuming. It is like talking across the garden fence with an interesting and enigmatic neighbour.

But no, you can't borrow my ladder.

rogerh said...

The mask one wears when sticking one's oar in. Or, the mask you wear when you have your say. The crisp shirt and dicky bow, or the open neck tartan shirt.

This establishment I like for similar reasons to Sam Vega, pity about the ladder tho.

Glad to hear about Kant, I thought I was just too dim to see what his point was.

A K Haart said...

rogerh and SV - firstly thanks for your kind comments and yes, the life cycle of blogs must be worth a bit of research. There are loads of defunct ones and I can see why people give up, because it's quite time-consuming. Mind you, so is reading them.

I wonder if blogs will settle down to some kind of multi-author approach as many have already. If so, we'll probably lose the quirkiness.

I think the sense of becoming a slightly different person when you respond to blogs (or write them for that matter) is one of their strengths.

As you say, we adapt to the social tone and "me" is more of a social construct than we'd like to admit. Blogging seems to be very good at bringing this out, possibly because blogs and comments are written. No body-language, no social status stuff, no accent, no baggage.

James Higham said...

Ye sand no. I'm in the middle of a series of articles at OoL and at my place and they're more an archive, something to refer back to sometime.

I've never subscribed to blogposts being short little eye-bites - they can be but there's a place for the more developed ones too.

A K Haart said...

JH - I like brevity, although I know it doesn't always do justice to the subject.

If I have a big subject to cover, I'd rather provide a link or two and let people pursue it or not, as they choose.